By Bob Sauder
On behalf of the Ohio Conference Leadership Team
Naomi Engle, Credentialing Ministry Chairperson and a member of the Leadership Team of the Ohio Conference, went to her heavenly home on Jan. 1. At the beginning of their meeting on Jan. 21, the Ohio Conference Leadership Team spent some time remembering who she was, what she brought to the Ohio Conference and the void that her passing has left.
Naomi’s love for the Ohio Conference was apparent in all of her activities on our behalf. We remembered the impact made by her administrative skills and her compassionate personality in her role as the Credentialing Chairperson. Many people are blessed with those skills, but to see both of those demonstrated so successfully by one person was truly amazing and a gift from God. Relationship seemed to be at the center of her core being represented by her readiness to offer compliments to those she met, her ability to see the gifts that others possessed and affirming them in those gifts, and the feeling of support she gave to her fellow ministry team members, the Leadership Team and the pastors of the Conference.
While Naomi would be totally focused and serious when the situation called for that, we also recalled her ready smile, her sense of humor and her enjoyment of the fun-filled relationships that arose.
Naomi’s passion for women in leadership was evident in her own pastoral ministry, pastor-spouse get-aways, and the leadership she gave to pastors’ spouse support groups. Her rallying cry was, ”Don’t let the fact that you are a woman limit you in the use of the gifts that God has given you.” While women were her passion, we are sure that she would say that to any person she met whether they were youth, old-timers, poor, rich, married, single or a sinner saved by grace.
We were appreciative of the three admonitions she left for us at her memorial service: Don’t give up on prayer, be kind, and don’t limit what God can do through you because you are a woman.
We were deeply saddened by the fact that a life so full of potential had to be so short, but we were blessed by the way she skillfully and faithfully used the gifts that she was given. We, individually and as a Conference, are better people for having known Naomi. She certainly left her world, her sphere of influence, a better place than what she found it. May she rest in peace in the loving arms of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our prayers and support go out to her family and the West Clinton congregation as they mourn her loss, and we want to thank them for allowing Naomi the time to share her gifts with us all.